How to Make Foam Cosplay Armor

This tutorial explains how to make cosplay armor on a budget. It deals specifically with gauntlets but this method works for really anything. Moreover, despite spending next-to-nothing on this armor, it will look both authentic and awesome!


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    Lay down newspaper or a garbage bag. This will ensure that the painting doesn't ruin your carpet/table/place of working.
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    Take the first sheet of craft foam and wrap it around your arm (or area of interest, in this tutorial the focus is on making gauntlets). Using a sharpie or pen, mark the height/length you want your piece of armor. You should end up with four marks (for height and width on both sides and top and bottom).
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    Cut out that piece. If you want to create layers on your armor (to create dimension), cut out strips lower than the the base layer and hot glue them on.
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    Choose one of two approaches to dealing with the base armor:
    • Take your armor and run your iron over it several times to make it warm and soft. Then mold the foam form around your arm (or place of interest) so that it takes that shape. You may have to iron it several times and mold it several times until it actually stays. Just be patient and take your time.
    • The other route would be to do the decoration/detailing of your armor now. Take your armor piece and, using a sharpie or pen, draw on the detailing you want to have on your armor. Then, proceed to taking your puffy paint and tracing it over the detailing you drew. The puffy paint usually takes about 4-5 hours to dry. When dry, you'll want to use the iron on your armor and mold it then.
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    Cover the armor. When the armor detailing is dry, use the school glue and a thicker paintbrush and just cover the entire piece in glue. Then let it dry. This is what will give the armor a metal look and not look so much like foam.
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    Use another paintbrush (or wash off the one you used for the glue) and paint the base color on the entire piece. You may want to double-coat but this is up to you. Wait for it to dry. Then, take another paintbrush and dip it in plain black paint. Brush off most of the paint onto a paper plate or paper towel until there is barely any paint left on the brush. Then go ahead and gently brush it over the entire piece, making it darker in certain places of dimension, such as where the layers meet or around the puffy paint detailing to make it look more raised off the foam.
    • When you're all done, if you want, take a really small and thin paintbrush and dip it in your original color base paint (like metallic gold) and go over only the puffy paint to make it look raised, as if the light is hitting it.
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    Add finishing touches. When all of the painting is dry and you're satisfied with the look, take two pieces of ribbon (any color, such as a shiny gold color to match the armor) and hot glue each piece to the inside of the gauntlet. Then tie it around your arm.
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    Bam! You're done! Or, if you want, you could hot glue the piece together and just slide it on your arm but I prefer tying/untying it.

Things You'll Need

  • Craft foam (any color because it will be painted anyway, this tutorial used size 30 cm x 45 cm sheets)
  • Puffy Paint 1.0 US FL OZ (any color because it will be painted anyway, also it doesn't have to be this exact brand, check your local supermarket for any type of 3-D/puffy paint)
  • Elmer's glue or any type of regular school glue
  • Hot glue/hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • An iron/heating gun/ stove/ or anything that you can use to get the craft foam hot to mold
  • Metallic paint the color of the armor you wish to make (this tutorial used metallic gold)
  • Black paint if you want to get your armor looking aged or having a real looking effect
  • Paintbrushes (thick and thin)

Article Info

Categories: Cosplay